Short answer: (1) pay in full, (2) pay in installments, or (3) apply for a fee waiver.
1. Pay in full
This is the easy option for both me and for the client. When you make a payment to my firm for the attorney’s fees you also make payment for the filing fee. Paying in full makes it easier for me because I don’t have to worry about reminding the client to pay the filing fee. It’s also easier for the client because there is nothing else you have to do.
2. Pay in installments
Coming up with the money for attorney’s fees can be difficult when you are considering bankruptcy. Fortunately, the Court allows you to pay the filing fee in three installments. You don’t even have to pay the first installment when you file.
What the Court does require is that you make your first payment two weeks within two weeks of filing, the second payment within two weeks after the first payment, and the third payment within four weeks of the second payment.
Let me use an example. Let’s say you filed chapter 7 bankruptcy on Monday, February 1, 2016. The total amount for the filing fee is $335.00. Your first payment is due on or before February 15, 2016. Your second payment would be two weeks after that, on Monday, February 29, 2016, Leap Day (watch out for Leap Day William). Your third and final payment would be due four weeks later on Monday, March 28, 2016.
Below is a table showing how this works.
|File Bankruptcy||February 1, 2016||$0.00|
|1st Payment||February 15, 2016||$110.00|
|2nd Payment||February 29, 2016||$110.00|
|3rd Payment||March 28, 2016||$115.00|
3. Apply for fee waiver
The last way to pay for your filing fee is to not pay at all. If you meet the guidelines then you file what is called the “Application to Have the Chapter 7 Filing Fee Waived”. This is only available to chapter 7 debtors; it is not available to chapter 13 debtors.
There are several factors the Court considers when deciding to grant or deny your application for fee waiver. The most important factor, however, is your income. If your monthly income is 150% or less of the poverty level for the number of people in your household then the Court will likely grant your application for fee waiver. I covered this in more detail in an earlier post.
Talk to your attorney about which payment method is best for you.